Rome, Italy, Oct 23, 2018 / 05:03 am
Young people in Rome prayed for Saint John Paul II's intercession in the final week of the 2018 Synod of Bishops for young people, the faith, and vocational discernment.
The adoration holy hour on Saint John Paul II's feast day included meditations on the pope's Gospel reflections in St. Lawrence in Piscibus, a church which John Paul II rededicated as a youth center in the 1980s.
Saint John Paul II "asked us, 'Be not afraid.' He told us, 'You are the future,'" Mayda Rojas told CNA at the prayer vigil.
"Now it is the future, and we remember all of the things that he has taught us," continued Rojas, who helped to organize the event with World Youth Alliance.
"The youth, the young people who sang tonight, they have questions about eternity," she said.
Some synod fathers, including Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of South Africa and Hungarian Greek Archbishop Péter Fülöp Kocsis, joined the young people in their prayer vigil.
Among the evening's meditations was an excerpt from "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," a book by John Paul II:
"What is youth? It is not only a period of life that corresponds to a certain number of years, it is also a time given by Providence to every person and given to him as a responsibility. During that time he searches, like the young man in the Gospel, for answers to basic questions; he searches not only for the meaning of life but also for a concrete way to go about living his life. This is the most fundamental characteristic of youth.
"Every mentor, beginning with parents, let alone every pastor, must be aware of this characteristic and must know how to identify it in every boy and girl. I will say more: He must love this fundamental aspect of youth," wrote the pope.
The San Lorenzo Center is located just steps away from St. Peter's Square. It serves young Romans, and those passing through on pilgrimage with spiritual and social activities. The youth center also houses the original World Youth Day cross.
"Young people are very interested to know about the life of a missionary," Mayda Rojas said. "They don't want the easy way ... They want to know the real experience."
Rojas, a native of Mexico, worked for many years as a missionary in Latin America. After having a child, Rojas' life of faith changed in ways that she had not expected.
"I am a mother of an autistic child and my life is changing, but I understand that this is another kind of mission," she said.
"Jesus Christ is the only answer and he knows what is in our hearts," she continued. "We want all these young people and bishops to remember that we know what is the answer: Jesus Christ is the answer to everything."